The arguments continue about which was the superior Super Bowl — XLIII or XLII?
What presumably can no longer be debated: The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 27-23 triumph over the Arizona Cardinals Sunday was the most-watched Big Game, surpassing the New York Giants’ 17-14 win last season that deprived the New England Patriots of undefeated NFL history.
An early projection had the game scoring with an average of some 89.2 million viewers, before Nielsen Media Research nationals jumped that total to 95.4 million.That put Big Ben-Santonio Holmes’ heroics behind the 97.5 million for Eli’s dramatics in G-men-Pats…
However, when the “official nationals” were released the average surged to 98.7 million, including 38.3 million women, the third most since Nielsen began tracking the demo in 1991, according to the NFL. Despite tepid interest from the markets of last year’s participants, No. 1 DMA New York (46th in the overnights) and No. 7 Boston (45th), Steelers-Cards became the second-most-watched program ever behind the series finale of M*A*S*H finale in 1983, which averaged 106 million viewers.
Super Bowl XLIII also raced past Super Bowl XLII like Larry Fitzgerald ditching the Steelers’ secondary on his 64-yard TD reception in terms of total viewers 151.6 million to 148.3 million.
Nielsen attributed the additional 3 million to a more thorough review of viewing on digital tiers. The measurement company evidently was unaware they were carrying the contest.
Maybe they were under a hood or something. And that’s why the NFL officiating crew couldn’t go to the review when Cards’ QB Kurt Warner was “sacked” on the penultimate play by LaMarr Woodley to clinch Pittsburgh’s record sixth NFL championship.